First Bank, Microfinance institutions

Microfinance institutions in Nigeria have attracted a total savings of about N185 billion in recent years and rescued no fewer than 100,000 Nigerians from poverty through linkage to finances, sensitization, capacity building and networking, according to the President, Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN), Hamid G. Afolabi.

Afolabi disclosed this in Ilorin on Monday at the ‘occasion of corporate governance and ANMFIN inclusion exchange.’  He said: “As we march towards expanding outreach to rural areas, the subsector is still bedevilled with regulatory bottlenecks; many of our non-governmental organizations that want to engage in providing microfinance credit to their target audience cannot because of legal impediments. Also, the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Funds set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase access have largely remained inaccessible due to collateral requirements.

However, we are confident in the consistent support that we have received from Rural Finance Institution Building Prgramme (RUFIN) and CBN with regards to the review of these provisions that militate against the effectual and efficient delivery of the financial inclusion agenda to the rural areas.”

He added that “we have weathered the storm because the association is currently working with over 3,000 informal savings to be linked to microfinance banks in the North West. A feat we are about to replicate across the country with Kwara state as our next focal state.

“ANMFIN is aware of efforts of the Kwara state government to ensure the state’s inclusion by setting up the state Micro Credit Intervention Scheme in collaboration with 14 micro finance banks across the state.”

He urged the micro finance practitioners to partner together, saying that with that they can do more and achieve more.  “If the recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics on the employment and underemployment of our people is anything to go by; history will not be kind to us if we wallow in the dungeon of fear and negative perceptions and limit access to loan-able funds to micro finance institutions,” he said.

By Pita Ochai

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